Skip to main content

Libya Situation Report, 17 March 2020

Countries
Libya
Sources
OCHA
Publication date
Origin
View original

HIGHLIGHTS (17 Mar 2020)

  • Clashes continue in and around Tripoli, with the escalation in violence reaching pre-truce levels. As of 9 January 2020, more than 149,000 people have been displaced.

  • The security situation in Sirt, Abu Qurayn and surrounding areas remain tense. Fighting since January 2020 has resulted in more than 4,650 people fleeing their homes.

  • Many migrants and refugees continue to risk the crossing to Europe. Since January, around 2,670 people were intercepted/rescued at sea and returned to Libya, most to detention.

Situation update

During the reporting period, hostilities in and around Tripoli have increased, despite the agreed-upon truce, and have reached near pre-truce levels. As of 9 January 2020, more than 149,000 people have been forced to leave their home since the beginning of the conflict in April 2019. Clashes continued to be reported in densely populated areas, particularly in South Tripoli. Internally displaced families who remain close to areas of conflict, along with host communities providing them with shelter, migrants and refugees in urban communities or in detention centres remain at significant risk. Around 749,000 people are estimated to be in areas affected by clashes, including almost 345,000 people who remain in frontline areas.

Heavy shelling around Mitiga Airport continues to disrupt its operation and has resulted in civilian casualties and damage to homes in surrounding neighbourhoods. Schools and hospitals have been damaged or closed also as a result. As of March 2020, a total of 27 health facilities have been damaged to varying degrees due to proximity of clashes, including 14 health facilities that have been closed and another 23 which are at risk of closure due to shifting lines of conflict. Around 4 March 2020, ten schools in Ain Zara and all schools in Misrata that were closed for more than a month have reopened, allowing 127,000 students to go back to school. On 8 March, eight schools were reported closed in the proximity of Mitiga airport due to the risks posed by shelling in the area. However, on 15 March 2020, as preventative measure for the outbreak of COVID-19, all schools in the country were closed starting for two weeks.

Families from Sirt and Abu Qurayn areas have also fled fighting following clashes since January. Since mid-February 2020, an additional 372 families (1,860 individuals) have been internally displaced due to the volatile security situation in the area. This brings the total to at least 930 families (4,650 individuals) that are reported to have fled their homes to neighbouring areas.

In conflict-affected areas, people increasingly face challenges to access basic essential goods and public services and their ability to go to work and earn livelihoods. A subsequent protection risk due to the combination of economic instability and displacement is the risk of eviction, both for displaced families and host communities in areas of displacement. In response to the Tripoli crisis and fighting near Sirt and Abu Qurayn more than 24,000 IDPs have been reached with humanitarian assistance during the reporting period.

More than 654,000 migrants and refugees are currently in Libya and remain at risk of unlawful killings, torture, arbitrary detention and unlawful deprivation of liberty, rape and other forms of sexual and gender-based violence, slavery and forced labour, extortion and exploitation. Of particular concern are the more than 1,800 migrants and refugees held in the state-run detention centers, where conditions are characterised by severe overcrowding, insufficient access to sanitation facilities, food, or clean water, and where there are wide-spread reports of human rights violations. On 29 February, a fire that broke out in Libya’s Dhar el Jebel Detention Center in Zintan killed a 26-year-old Eritrean man and destroyed a building that was holding another 50 migrants. As part of the 1,670 individuals held in detention, UNHCR estimates there are over 1,100 persons of concern to UNHCR. Since January 2020, UNHCR has advocated for the release of 215 refugees and asylum-seekers from detention. Together with partners, UNHCR has made 143 monitoring visits to, and provided over 780 medical consultations at detention centres in Libya.

Those released are able to receive counselling and medical services as well as non-food items within the urban community, where they can be processed for possible solutions outside of Libya.
Migrants and refugees also continue to take risks to attempt to cross into Europe. In 2020, more than 2,670 migrants have been returned to Libya after by intercepted/rescued at sea; most of whom are taken into detention. UN agencies and partners continue to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees, including health screenings and relief items after disembarkation.

UN agencies and partners continue to provide assistance to migrants and refugees both in urban communities and those in official detention centres, reaching more than 7,000 since the beginning of the year. In addition, UNHCR continues to support the evacuation or resettlement of refugees out of Libya - 161 since January 2020. IOM also continues to support the voluntary humanitarian return of migrants to their countries of origin through its voluntary humanitarian return programme (VHR). Between the dates 16 January and 16 March, IOM facilitated the voluntary humanitarian return of 1,466 vulnerable migrants to 16 countries of origin.

Across Libya, the protracted crisis continues to pose grave risks for both Libyans and non-Libyans. More than 356,000 people remained displaced throughout Libya and nearly 448,000 previously displaced people have returned to their places of origin. In 2020, it is estimated that around 893,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance due to conflict, insecurity and political and economic instability.

Across Libya, the protracted crisis continues to pose grave risks for both Libyans and non-Libyans. More than 356,000 people remained displaced throughout Libya and nearly 448,000 previously displaced people have returned to their places of origin. In 2020, it is estimated that around 893,000 people are in need of humanitarian assistance due to conflict, insecurity and political and economic instability.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.